PUB: Week 2 of our Thinking Leave. Owen, Sandra and I are seriously considering "going rogue", especially Sandra. Ever since she got swept up in the Palinmania thing on Twitter, she's been cultivating this perky persona with no-nonsense hair, quizzical spectacles and a red suit. She looks like a half-hearted Santa. Owen doesn't really care, to be honest. As long as he can get time off for his Star Wars conventions and Ork Fairs or whatever, he's happy to go along with anything. Idiot.
NAMELESS: If we DID set up a freelance education think tank, it would mean taking voluntary redundancy, renting a shitty office somewhere, ordering stationery, seeking official accreditation as a PFI Thought Provider, pitching work and then having to do it. It's never going to happen. We can't even agree on a name. So far all suggestions have been vetoed. Owen's Thinquetanque was hopelessly overwrought. I proposed ThinkSchools but apparently that's too much like "sink schools". Minders, Sandra's ridiculous suggestion, sounds like a nursery or possibly an over-50s aerobics group.
COALITION: We're joined mid-afternoon by Bryony Stamp, currently suspended head of the Tory version of us. There's vague talk about everybody forming a "think quank" next year in the great Quango Big Bango, when the universe as we know it will explode and then re-coalesce into a new thinking reality. Bryony's always full of ideas. She thinks we should put together a 10-Point Plan that would do for either Ballsy or The Gove in an emergency, so everyone's covered. After some thought, we lash one up.
1. Make accountability smarter by making teachers wear blazers.
2. Work together, thereby achieving more.
3. If proposing legislation which is either mischievous or a non-runner, add the word Challenge.
4. Guarantee that every child in need of extra catch-up will be firmly discouraged from dawdling.
5. Schools that get greater value for money to be rewarded with ministerial photo opportunities.
6. Replace Sats with a more exciting acronym, eg, WHEVS, GOSH, X-FAX, LOL, BOOM.
7. Announce that all new schools will be 21st Century Schools, in case anyone was expecting Victorian buildings with separate entrances for Boys and Girls, and outside toilets.
8. Get Daniel Craig to launch Licence to Practise.
9. Set up a Warning Notice system for dangerously underperforming schools, so they can be evacuated before disaster strikes.
10. Maintain firm commitment to Futures Delivery Taskforce.
SORTED: Bryony will keep the 10-Point Plan in her drawer at home, we'll keep a copy in the office. It's comforting to know we're all on the same page. Plus, there's the delicious prospect of Ballsy and The Gove announcing an identical agenda simultaneously. Inchworm.